India’s hero Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman leads fighter jet formation in Air Force Day fly-over (VIDEO)
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is credited with shooting down a Pakistani F-16 in a dogfight in February, was front and center at the annual aerial parade held outside Delhi. Footage shows Varthaman leading a pack of MiG-21 Bison, an upgraded version of the Soviet-era fighter jet.
#WATCH Ghaziabad: Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman leads a 'MiG formation' and flies a MiG Bison Aircraft at Hindon Air Base on #AirForceDay today.@IAF_MCC@PMOIndia@rajnathsinghpic.twitter.com/P2IFeIkrq1— News24 India (@news24tvchannel) October 8, 2019
The air force officer was also prominently featured in a promotional video marking the occasion. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the clip on Twitter, expressing gratitude to the country’s “air warriors and their families.”
Today, on Air Force Day, a proud nation expresses gratitude to our air warriors and their families. The Indian Air Force continues to serve India with utmost dedication and excellence. pic.twitter.com/iRJAIqft11— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 8, 2019
Varthaman became a national hero after he was shot down and captured by Pakistan in a brief clash between the two nuclear rivals that erupted in February. Islamabad released him several weeks later as a “gesture of peace.” His rise to Indian stardom was at least partly due to his distinctive facial hair, described as a version of the “gunslinger.” He later trimmed his moustache, causing mass upheaval on social media.Also on rt.com Indian hero pilot’s facial hair must be declared ‘national mustache’ – Congress leader
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